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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

another time - another luxury sedan - drunken drive - pavement dwellers killed

The media would be strongly reporting the warning of Bollywood star Salman Khan to his Twitter followers to troll his fellow Khans Shah Rukh and Aamir at their own peril,  as he threatened to quit the social networking site in a late night rant ! – so what will happen to the Internet ?  the love  affair of the Khan Trinity finally came to a full circle with Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan tweeting the first look of Salman Khan’s upcoming movie ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’.   An unexpected move as this was, it surely touched Salman, who later took to Twitter to thank his Khan bros for the gesture.

In all the melee, the poor Ravindra who lived in Room 61 of Building number 3 with  monthly  rent of Rs 230  deducted from his salary as rent for the 180-sq ft room is quietly buried.  For those who care to remember Ravindra Patil was a police cop who died in chill penury, after being the police escort of Salman on that fateful day and the person who filed that FIR, which led to the sentence of Salman – who however is out on bail, without having to spend a single day.  It ran for 13 years and more,  the 2002 hit-and-run case, when Khan’s SUV  rammed into the American Express Bakery in Mumbai, killing one pavement dweller and injuring four others. 

Unlinked to this in July 2012,  a luxury sedan mowed down a 70 year old woman – the vehicle was reportedly driven by Salman Khan’s family driver and the car was owned by  Salman’s brother, actor and producer Arbaaz Khan.  Subsequently the actor was quoted as saying    "The accident happened by mistake. I spoke to my driver and he said when he was driving, he saw something like a black polythene bag on the road, but it was the lady who was completely in black. I would request everyone not to sleep on the roads’. 

Mumbai is not alone – all cities are alike.  By some estimate, there are at least 8000 homeless in Chennai city, which according to informed sources is a pruned figure. They live on streets, sleep on pavements, there are no shelters.  Shakunthala was one among them ! – unfortunately, many of them would not move even when provided alternate accommodation – they would still live on roads !  .... some experts would say that we are only treating the symptoms of the issue of urban homeless and not the root cause.  Shelters are temporary solutions that would work only for destitute – fact remains that there are slums and people live in pavements also – unlike Mumbai there are no two-tier settlements on roads !

But those on streets face the same threat of Express bakery.  A month ago, three men on a bike ran over three people, including two elderly women, sleeping on a pavement along North Fort Road in Parry's corner, Chennai. While flower vendors Shakunthala, 60, of Wall Tax Road and Chinnaponnu, 70, of Kannagi Nagar died on the spot, Appu, a 24-year-old flower vendor from Vysarpadi, died later in hospital. The three were sleeping along with 10 others on the pavement when the accident occurred around 2.30am. Thiruniraiselvi, daugther of Chinnaponnu, injured her toe in the incident. One of the accused, 18-year-old Sadiq of Bangaru Naidu Street near Anna Salai, was later arrested and remanded in judicial custody.

Police said Sadiq and his friends Mansur, 19, and Farooq, 18, of Triplicane had attended special prayers at a mosque for Shab e-Meraj (a festival) and were on a joy ride. While Sadiq and Mansur worked in butcher shops, Farooq was an electrician.  According to some other versions, some were involved in bike racing – one of them lost control and ran over the poor sleeping on pavement.  A phone located near the spot, led to the arrest of one of them.  Elephant Gate police booked him  under IPC Section 304 part II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).

If one were to reject such incidents as isolated, here comes another – that of a drunk lawyer speeding on wrong side killing two.  At Mumbai, a luxury Audi car driven by an allegedly inebriated lady lawyer rammed a taxi resulting in death of two people on the Eastern Freeway.  The lawyer, identified as 35-year-old Janhvi Gadkar, has been arrested and survived the accident thanks to the air bags of the car deploying. She now faces up to ten years in jail.

Gadkar, who, the police say is a legal consultant with a major corporation was out for dinner in a posh south Mumbai hotel in the wee hours of Tuesday where she allegedly consumed alcohol.  According to the Rashtriya Chemical Fertilisers (RCF) police, Gadkar while headed home to her apartment in the suburb of Chembur took the south-bound stretch of the freeway instead of the north-bound lane she was supposed to be on, reports DNA. The police said before the accident she had narrowly missed hitting two bikes, and other bikers had given her a chase, reports NDTV.  According to a Mumbai Mirror report, Gadkar was in such an inebriated condition that after being arrested she had gone off to sleep in the police station and police officials had to wait for hours until she woke up to record her statement.

The report also quoted hotel sources where she had dinner as saying that she had consumed six drinks before leaving. Ms Gadkar was later produced in a court which remanded her to police custody for three days.  In Internet parlance,  a ‘troll’  is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

10th June 2015.

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